Raleigh North Carolina was the home of my first race of 2016. Following on from an unseasonably warm winter and the associated ability to log big training miles throughout, I was excited to get the race season under way. The Raleigh course consisted of a non-traditional format that saw athletes stop at two separate transitions with a point to point progressive course finishing in downtown Raleigh.
Coming from New York’s 50-degree spring weather to Raleigh’s race day conditions of 98-degrees was a challenge in itself. On race morning, the typically placid conditions of the lake swim were advanced to a very choppy and difficult swim. The challenge this held was furthered by the water temperature which was one degree too warm to allow wet-suits.
All pre-race conceptions of performance possibility were re-defined by a hard-driven elbow to the nose very near the start of the swim. This blow to the head coupled with the water conditions made for a slower than anticipated swim time of 42:40. The bike to follow was a very rolling course. The temperature was on the rise the entire duration and finished with a steady average just over 20mph and 2:26 cumulative time.
The run course to cap off the day was a two loop out and back run through downtown Raleigh. There was very strong support from the fans and volunteers that found were assisting in any way to keep athletes cool on the very exposed run course. At the completion of the run I was able to finish the day with a 5:32 finish time and top 20 age group finish. Although this was a respectable time and finish it was not what I had trained for. The disappointment of this setback was put into perspective after the race when I was found to have received a concussion as a result of the hit to the face during the swim portion. Onto the next adventure! Holly Sloan